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Hawks Opting Out Of Pride Jerseys

March 23, 2023, 12:55 AM ET [89 Comments]
Zach Jarom
Chicago Blackhawks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
When you are a rebuilding team and the trade deadline has passed, typically there is very little news to cover until the draft lottery. It seems, however, that the Hawks wanted to get back into the news cycle as it was announced by the team that they have decided against wearing the pride jerseys for this Sunday's Pride Night at the United Center. This decision was made by the higher-ups and not the players (Connor Murphy even said last week that the players were in agreement to wear them), and the reasoning for this was because of safety concerns for the Russian players after Russia passed an anti-LGBTQ propaganda law this past December. The team has stated they will still be holding various events throughout the day at the UC to show their support for the LGBTQ community on Sunday. I usually stay away from these topics as I know it is a sensitive subject for many, but with how teams across this league have been handling the Pride Jersey situation, I feel like it's time to talk about it. I am fully aware that this could be the last blog of mine that some of you read, and if that’s the case, I am sorry to see you go.
This league and its teams push the slogan "hockey is for everyone", and that is simply not the case. People are still discriminated against because they do not fit the status quo, regardless of their sexual orientation, race, or religious beliefs. You could argue that there is no reason for this to be a part of the game, but I strongly disagree. This game means the world to me; it has saved my life, helped get me through my dad's death, and so many other tough times in life. For me, there is no better escape than stepping on the ice or tossing on a game, and that’s because I have been accepted into the hockey community. Why shouldn’t everyone who loves this game feel the same things I do about this game just because they might be gay or a different race? Why should people be afraid to be themselves and hide who they are just so they can go to the rink? When you look at the comments on any post about these pride nights, you will see why this needs to be part of the game. One of my best friends, who is hands down the best goalie I have ever played with, came out to me two years ago after I had known him for almost 17 years. It was depressing to think that he couldn’t be who he was for so long because of the fear of judgment. That is not right, and that is not what this game should be about. Hockey should be the equalizer in life, the thing that no matter who you are or who you love, you can get together with the common love for an amazing sport.
Wearing a jersey with rainbow flags isn’t going to end homophobia, just like wearing purple jerseys for cancer awareness isn't going to cure cancer. The key thing these jerseys do is spread awareness and help get the discussion going. While they have chosen not to wear the jersey, I am glad they are continuing with their other events as planned. This world sucks enough as it is; let's use this game to escape it and just enjoy this game and truly let hockey be for everyone.

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